Bookslut has an interesting feature about four ‘new’ female poets: Anna Leahy, Kate Greenstreet, Nicole Cooley, and Nancy Kuhl. They have some interesting things to say about the terms ‘new’ or ’emerging’. It’s really interesting to hear what Kuhl, in particular, has to say:
I have mixed feelings about the term — on the one hand, of course, it might be said that we are all always emerging, but at what point has one emerged? And after emerging, then what? Has Nicole, with her third collection now forthcoming, slipped or propelled herself into that other dubious category: mid-career? I know other terms are no better or more accurate — many who might be called emerging poets are not new or young or beginning — but I do wish we had a reasonable alternative. Maybe simply “first-book poets.”
I think I’ve been writing poetry and prose fiction on and off since I was a seven-year-old playing with my grandmother’s typewriter. If I were to ever actually publish a whole book, would I be ’emerging’? Emerging where? Into the public sphere, perhaps? But in and of myself? I’m sure these four feel the same way. From the way Leahy describes her own experience of getting published, ’emerging’ is perhaps not even the right term; it almost feels like, at least in that situation, she was caught on a wave that someone else (the industry, perhaps?) was propelling.
I love writing, and I wish I had time to do more of it. It’s quite encouraging to hear about the experiences, both in writing and publishing, of other people.
PS: Leahy has a very interesting article soon to be published in Legacy about whether or not there is such a thing as ‘women’s poetry’ anymore. Bookmark it if you like these sorts of things!